Before we begin, She and Her Cat was originally was an anime short directed by the famed Makoto Shinkai (director of Your Name, 5 Centimeters Per Second, and The Place Promised in Our Early Days). This might make you think that there will be some sad and bittersweet moments. She and Her Cat certainly fit within that same vein. To give some perspective on how quintessentially Makoto Shinkai this story is, it begins with the discovery of an abandoned cat in the middle of a rainstorm. So you know off the bat that you’re in for something that’ll pluck those heartstrings.
She and Her Cat does a brilliant job of capturing simple and emotional moments in life. The good and the bad are all experienced through the perspective of one incredibly perceptive cat (Chobi). Throughout the course of the book, Chobi questions his existence, contemplates his master’s motivations, and has other existential internal dialogue. Honestly, Chobi’s stream of consciousness comprises most of the content within She and Her Cat.
Despite that sounding like it would be boring, the real charm of the book comes from Chobi’s experience of Miyu’s hardships. There is something to be said for a character that is capable of finding beauty among the sadness. She and Her Cat captures these bittersweet moments incredibly well and does an excellent job trying to get you to appreciate the small things. If you don’t have that experience, you sure as shit are going to have an existential crisis by the end of it.
That being said, there is not a lot of plot outside of Chobi’s infatuation with Miyu and Miyu’s tribulations of being a reclusive individual outside of work. In this case, it works perfectly fine as this story is merely a snapshot of one person’s life and meant to get you to feel something. So if you are expecting something with a more sustenance than that, you might be better off searching elsewhere.
The only issue I took with the story was the Chobi’s apparent love for his master. It went a little bit too far past companionship and into the realm of romantic (Chobi breaks up with another cat in order to be fully dedicated to Miyu). I’m sure this was meant to show the level of dedication and affection that the cat has, it certainly contributes to another sweet moment at the end of the volume, however it did feel a bit odd. (Then again, I feel like I’ve seen stranger romances in anime before and who am I to judge romance. It’s a strange world out there).
We do get to see Miyu progress and learn to appreciate herself, her relationships, and her time, so I do think it is worth a read. The book is a prime example of that famous Boss Ross quote, “Gotta have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come.” The book doesn’t skip on those moments but it is quick to point out that not everything is a struggle. The book is quick and a nice reminder (for those of us who work too hard or push ourselves too much) to just take a moment to ourselves and learn that it is okay to take a moment away from it all and take in the world around you.
On the whole, She and Her Cat is worth checking out in my opinion. It’ll take you no time at all to get through and it’s another piece of literature that will hopefully get you (the reader) involved with some self-reflection.
Publisher: Vertical Comics
Publish date: August 1st, 2017
Disclaimer, a copy of She and Her Cat was provided to BentoByte by the publisher for the purpose of review.Tweet